Physiotherapy Management of Ankylosing Spondylitis and Spondyloarthropathy

Physiotherapy Management of Ankylosing Spondylitis and Spondyloarthropathy

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At BJC Health, all our physiotherapists are experts in the management of Inflammatory Low Back Pain, Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and Spondyloarthropathy (SpA). It has been well documented in the literature that a structured, individualized exercise programme is the corner stone to managing these conditions. There are only a few physiotherapists in Australia who see these conditions regularly and fortunately, our entire physiotherapy team is well trained in this area.

What to expect when you come to see our physiotherapists for AS/SpA?

For the most part, when clients attend their first physiotherapy session for AS/SpA, they have only recently been diagnosed with the condition. This can typically lead to apprehension and uncertainty. Hopefully, you will have had time with our Rheumatology Care Coordinator to discuss any questions you have and to gather more information.

The first physiotherapy session will be broken into two sections. The first part will involve questioning and discussion of your current diagnosis and gathering any further information required. The second part will involving taking measurements.

What measurements will we take at your initial consultation?

Specific tools have been developed for the assessment and continued monitoring of AS/SpA.  Below are some assessment tools we will use:

  • BASDAI (Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index)
  • BASFI (Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index)
  • BASMI (Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Metrology Index)

The BASDAI and BASFI will indicate how your symptoms have been and how much your condition is affecting your daily tasks. The BASMI will measure mobility of your spine.  These assessment tools give us baseline measures thus allowing both you and us to track your progress. It also allows us to prescribe the appropriate exercise regime specific to you.

Why is it important to see a physiotherapist if you have AS or SpA?

Regular physiotherapy management is a must and will cover the following areas:

  • stretching and mobility programme
  • core activation exercises to support the spine
  • global movement pattern re-training (essential especially when symptoms have been prolonged)
  • global strength and conditioning
  • goal specific training

It is highly likely that as you progress through our physiotherapy programme, you may discover other goals that you would like to achieve with health and fitness playing an essential role. These can be addressed by other members of our team including our massage therapists, exercise physiologists and dietitians.

After the initial measures have been taken, these same measures will be repeated every 3, 6 or 12 months depending on your progress.


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